Dolphins QB Teddy Bridgewater Ruled Out Due to Updated Concussion Protocol After Hard Hit

by Nick Geddes
(Photo by Edward Diller/Getty Images)

Teddy Bridgewater’s time as the starting quarterback for the Miami Dolphins (3-2) lasted all of one play on Sunday.

Bridgewater was hit on the Dolphins’ first offensive play in the 40-17 Week 5 loss to the New York Jets (3-2). Jets rookie cornerback Sauce Gardner came unblocked and brought Bridgewater to the ground in the end zone, resulting in a safety.

Bridgewater, filling in for the injured Tua Tagovailoa, was quickly taken to the medical tent and then the locker room to be evaluated for a concussion by an unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant.

Bridgewater was ordered to go into the protocol after the ATC spotter ruled him a “no-go.” Though Bridgewater passed his concussion evaluation, the spotter believed he saw him stumble. That triggers the ataxia amendment under the NFL’s updated concussion protocols, which now considers a lack of control of body movements as a “no-go” symptom. Bridgewater, as a result, was not allowed to reenter the game.

Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel confirmed after the game that Bridgewater does not have concussion symptoms. Bridgewater must, however, go through the 5-step return to play.

Updated NFL Concussion Protocols Prohibit Teddy Bridgewater From Returning

It is the first example of the updated protocols being put to use. The NFL and NFLPA announced the new modifications Saturday upon wrapping up their investigation into the handling of Tagovailoa’s injury.

“Specifically, the term ‘ataxia’ has been added to the mandatory ‘no-go’ symptoms,” both parties said in a statement. “‘Ataxia’ is defined as abnormality of balance/stability, motor coordination or dysfunctional speech caused by a neurological issue.

“In other words, if a player is diagnosed with ‘ataxia’ by any club or neutral physician involved in the application of the Concussion Protocol, he will be prohibited from returning to the game, and will receive the follow-up care required by the Protocol.”

Teddy Bridgewater Joins Tua Tagovailoa in Concussion Protocol

The protocols came into question after Tagovailoa suffered head and neck injuries during Miami’s 27-15 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 4.

Tagovailoa was taken off the field on a stretcher and transported to a nearby hospital. He flew home with the team after the hospital discharged him. Tagovailoa has movement in all his extremities. The NFL has been facing criticism for its protocols as the injury came four days removed from Tagovailoa taking a late hit against the Buffalo Bills.

Tagovailoa bounced back up but it was immediately clear he was not OK. He had trouble staying on his feet and fell to the ground. He got back up on his own before his teammates grabbed him and restricted him from taking any more steps. The training staff came onto the field and subsequently took him back into the locker room. He passed the concussion check and returned in the second half of Miami’s 21-19 victory.

The Dolphins said that Tagovailoa tweaked his back in the first quarter. The hit from Bills linebacker Matt Milano, they said, caused it to lock up. The doctor involved in clearing Tagovailoa was fired last week.